Appeals dismissed in important $8 million hockey injury judgment
On February 1, 2016, Kugler Kandestin obtained an $8 million judgment in favour of Andrew Zaccardo and his family. Andrew was rendered a tetraplegic as a result of being checked into the boards from behind, head-first, during a Midget AA hockey game when he was 16 years old.
Québec Superior Court Justice Daniel Payette ruled that the player who checked Andrew was negligent and committed a civil fault, because it was known to him and all players that “checking from behind” into the boards is extremely dangerous and is not an acceptable part of the game of hockey. Justice Payette held that player, as well as his liability insurance company, legally responsible to pay $8 million in damages to the Zaccardo family.
The player who injured Andrew, as well as his liability insurance company, filed appeals from Justice Payette’s judgment. Kugler Kandestin filed an Application to Dismiss those appeals on the ground that the appeals had no reasonable chance of success. On May 2, 2016, the Québec Court of Appeal granted the Application, dismissed the appeals, and upheld the judgment of Justice Payette.
The judgments of Justice Payette and the Québec Court of Appeal confirm that participants in sporting activities may be held liable when their negligent conduct causes injury to another player. The amount of $8 million awarded by these judgments is the highest amount ever awarded by a court in Canada for bodily injuries suffered during a sporting event.